Winifred Wiese Dunn, PhD, OTR, FAOTA
Winifred Wiese Dunn, PhD, OTR, FAOTA

Winifred Wiese Dunn, PhD, OTR, FAOTA


Dr. Dunn is Distinguished Professor at the Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Missouri. Her research interests are directed toward the study of how persons understand and use the sensory input they received, and how their sensory processing abilities affect that individual's performance in daily life. For more details, see her website, Sensory Processing in Everyday Life.

Dunn's clinical practice expertise is with children and families in community settings, such as public schools, early intervention programs, day care centers, and families' homes.  (Retrieved on March 18, 2015 from http://www.kumc.edu/school-of-health-professions/occupational-therapy-education/our-faculty/dunn.html.)

Dr. Dunn was awarded the AOTF A. Jean Ayres Award in 2003.  In 1991, Dr. Dunn was awarded the American Occupational Therapy Association's Award of Merit, and in 2001 she was named the Eleanor Clarke Slagle Lecturer.  (Retrieved on March 18, 2015 from http://www.kumc.edu/Documents/shp/occupational-therapy/Dunn-CV-oct2013.pdf.) Dr. Dunn was awarded an AOTF Intervention Research Grant in 2015 for her study: Feasibility of Telehealth Coaching for Rural Families of Children with Autism and she was named one of the 100 Influential People in occupational therapy by AOTA.


Q and A

Identify three words that others have used to describe you.

How do you hope to make a difference in the world through research?
I want all people to know that they are fabulous just the way they are. I want people to know that it is useful to have insights about one's natural state because this informs how to plan a successful and satisfying life.

What is one piece of advice you have for individuals considering a career in science and research?
Embrace unexpected findings [which there will be a lot of]. We only think deeply about things that puzzle us; these are the moments for breakthroughs from the status quo.

Beside your own areas of inquiry, what is one research priority that you believe is important for the future of occupational science and occupational therapy?
Intervention studies that have participation as their outcomes will make it clear that we care about people's actual lives more than anything else.

Describe the most important role that mentors played in your professional journey.
They invited me to think bigger than I could possibly imagine.

Identify a favorite occupation that renews you outside of your work.
Cooking, and all the verbs associated with it, planning, chopping, stirring, smelling, tasting, dining.....

What has been the most surprising or rewarding aspects of a career in science and research?
That colleagues in practice find my ideas useful to their work with those they serve.  
That the general public find meaningfulness in the ideas I have proposed.

Selected References

Dunn, W. (2001). The sensations of everyday life: empirical, theoretical, and pragmatic considerations - the 2001 Eleanor Clarke Slagle Lecture. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 55, 608-620.

Davis, AM, Bruce, AS, Khasawneh, R, Schulz, T, Fox, C & Dunn W. (2013). Sensory processing issues in young children presenting to an outpatient feeding clinic. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, 56, 156-160.

Demopoulos, C, Arroyo, MS, Dunn, W, Strominger, Z, Sherr, EH & Marco E.  (2014 Dec 22).   Individuals with agenesis of the corpus callosum show sensory processing differences as measured by the Sensory Profile. Neuropsychology, [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 25528608.  

Foster, L, Dunn, W & Lawson, LM. (2013). Coaching mothers of children with autism: a qualitative study for occupational therapy practice. Physical and Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics, 33, 253-263.

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